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First League Defeat Of Season For Pools

20 August 2016

Pools suffered a taste of their own medicine this afternoon as Notts County cancelled out Toto Nsiala's early goal to take all three points.

Craig Hignett's side were leading at half time but the visitors were strong in the second half and grabbed two goals to take the win at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium. 

Pools had got off to their best start so far, with some positive early play leading to the opening goal after just eight minutes. 

A Lewis Alessandra corner found a crowd waiting in the middle and Toto Nsiala made sure he was first to the ball, bustling his way into position to push it towards goal. The ball was blocked on the line by the Notts defender but Toto wasn’t finished there.

A second Alessandra corner picked out the same position inside the box and again the crowd surged towards it but this time, with Nsiala once again at the front of the pack, the ball hit the back of the net and Pools were ahead. 

Notts County responded well to the go and offered a real threat going forward, with Jon Stead in particular working Pools hard. 

There was a blow for Hignett when Carl Magnay was injured after sliding off the pitch to try and intercept a cross. 

Former Pools loanee Adam Campbell fed a ball through for Stead and the big striker had only Carson to beat but saw his shot deflected onto the bar by the keeper and then Jordan Richards was on hand to kick clear. 

Billy Paynter was setup in similar fashion by Padraig Amond at the other end but he sent a powerful volley over the bar, while Amond saw his low drive go just inches wide of the far post. 

Matthew Bates went close to challenging for goal of the season with his effort on 35 minutes; the defender intercepted the ball to send it back into the right half of the pitch. And then Bates sauntered up into the box, where he received a great cross from the impressive Alessandra, which he volleyed at goal only to see it crash against the post. The move showed real vision from the experienced defender. 

Things got a little scrappy for Pools in the closing minutes of the first half and there some of that desperate defending we’d seen at Crewe in midweek, with both Bates and Nsiala putting in big blocks to deny chances. 

While it was Pools who took the lead into the second half, Notts County took the attacking emphasis with which they’d ended the first forty-five. 

There were a few half chances for the visitors in the opening minutes which Pools dealt with, while Hignett’s men took then minutes to have their first chance of the second half. Nathan Thomas, who had been quiet for much of the game so far, showed what he can do as he twisted his way into the box before seeing his final strike blocked by Adam Collin in the County goal. 

It was Notts County who were on top by the hour mark as they upped their pressure on the Pools back line and, with 64 minutes gone, they were level. 

A corner in from the left was eventually put in by former Sunderland man Louis Laing from close range to make it 1-1. 

And in the period following the equaliser it was the visitors who looked the most likely to find the net again; Michael O’Connor threatened with a strike across goal before Stead got the goal he’d been working for. 

Defender Laing went on a great surging run, straight through the middle of Pools and he played it into Stead on the right of the box and the big striker made no mistake as he powered it past Carson to give his side a 2-1 lead. 

The final ten minutes saw Pools re-find their attacking edge, with Thomas causing real problems down the left. With Notts County now sitting back, Pools dominated for a spell and there were chances for both Amond and Alessandra. 

Lewis Hawkins tried his luck from the edge of the box but Collin collected at the second attempt but despite plenty of possession and four minutes of added time, it was too little too late for Pools who suffered the first defeat of the season. 

Full Time: Pools 1 Notts County 2

Booked: Paynter (69)

Attendance: 3708 (216 Notts County) 

Pools: Carson, Magnay (Richards 22), Nsiala, Bates, Carroll, Alessandra, Woods, Featherstone, Thomas, Paynter (Hawkins 70), Amond.
Subs Not Used: Bartlett, Jones, Hawkins, Laurent, Deverdics, Oates.
Notts County: Collin, Duffy, Laing, Dickinson, Tootle, O'Connor, Aborah (Smith 61), Rodman, Forte (Oliver 62), Campbell, Stead (Audel 90).
Subs Not Used: Loach, Hollis, Burke, Snijders.

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